When it comes to developing research processes that result in high-impact outcomes, it’s essential for the researcher to continue to evaluate and refine their methods to ensure the highest quality is always achieved. One way to do this is by using reflexivity to positively affect the research outcomes.
Reflexivity is a method used by individual researchers and teams around the world. In this often unstructured but successful evaluative tool, scholars take a step back from research to go to their own roots and make sure their own preconceived beliefs, values, and theories are not skewing their approach to the processes or analysis of the data in front of them.
This tool is based on qualitative determinations made by the individual researcher, but it’s still a highly valued and essential part of the research process. When unintentional bias seeps into the research, the outcome can be skewed, so it’s a necessary process for the scholar to always be aware of their own belief system to make sure it does not encroach into their findings.
The Dangers of Bias and Research
There are two main types of bias that exist within a person’s character: explicit and implicit. Explicit bias is easily accounted for. It’s the attitudes or beliefs that we are aware of that we have towards an individual or a group of people. Explicit bias is easy to watch for because it’s on the conscious level. As a researcher, you can note that you believe a certain way and stay on alert when those beliefs are interconnected with your work to make sure that your bias doesn’t interfere with the results.
Implicit bias, on the other hand, is more difficult to watch for. By definition, this type of bias is one that exists on a subconscious level, making us unaware of them or mistaken about how we feel about them. A researcher is supposed to be neutral in all approaches of their work, but implicit biases can lead them towards associations due to their subconscious beliefs without them realizing it’s occurring.
The majority of research is compiled and performed through conscious thoughts and rationale. But when implicit biases aren’t searched for and recognized, they can play a role in conscious actions and skew the results of the research unintentionally.
Preventing Bias in Your Work
The biggest problem with implicit bias is that you may not even know you have it. Most of these biases are conditioned into us through our environments and experiences. Implicit biases occur naturally in us, in instances such as the affinity bias, where we gravitate towards people who share like-minded ideas and interests.
Part of these implicit biases are media and culture-based. Stereotypes are continually perpetuated through societal norms, media outlets, and cultural beliefs. But it’s essential that these biases are recognized by researchers and their at-risk areas of perception are identified to ensure they don’t affect any research judgments or behavioral approaches to the project.
Using Reflexivity to Prevent Bias
Taking bias out of the picture completely means that the researcher has to be aware of their beliefs and preconceived notions on a personal, deep level. For this to occur, procedures must be in place that are followed regularly by everyone involved in the research itself.
These procedures have to be included at any time a decision-making opportunity is presented. This way, implicit biases are recognized and avoided. Since this type of bias is universal, reflexivity is a method used by researchers around the globe to positively affect their research outcomes in a way that is completely neutral.
With reflexivity, the researcher is aware of how they could influence the project being studied and how the research is affecting them individually. Through this method, each person is consciously checking for bias any time they participate in planning, approaching, conducting, analyzing, and compiling their research.
Turning Your Work into Professional Publications with Impactio
Avoiding bias in your research is essential, but having a preference for the program you use to compile your work is fine! Academic scholars around the world use Impactio as their go-to platform to take them from start to finish and beyond when it’s time to publish their findings.
Impactio was designed for researchers and scholars like you and it provides everything you need to put together a professionally designed finished product ready for publication. After you’ve published your work, you can follow its impact through citation indicators and connect with other experts in the global Impactio network, too.
Whatever you need in your academic platform to get your work out to your audience, Impactio provides it for you in one easy-to-use program.